At the age of 16, Dirk Parmentier worked with Fokker from 1920 to 1924. Next he entered military service and earned his wings on April 7, 1927 at the Military Flying School at Soesterberg air base. Shortly afterwards he was placed in K.L.M. service, entering permanent service on May 1, 1929.
Flying the DC-2 Uiver, Parmentier earned world wide fame in the MacRobertson International Air Race from England to Australia, the so-called Melbourne race. Parmentier and his fellow crew members were awarded a Royal Decoration. In the Netherlands, the race was followed with great anxiety and the winners of the second place overall (first in the handicap race) were honored like national heroes.
In the years that followed, Parmentier continued his career as commercial pilot. At the time of the German invasion in May 1940 he was in the Netherlands. Schiphol had been bombed by the Germans on the first day of the war but on May 13, Parmentier managed to take off from Schiphol in the DC-3 PH-ARZ Zilverreiger and reached London.
Using the six former K.L.M. aircraft that eventually ended up in England, the line Bristol – Lisbon was maintained in charter for B.O.A.C. (British Overseas Airways Corporation, now British Airways) for the duration of the war. In the general opinion, the fine results of this sole remaining K.L.M. activity in Europe can be attributed in considerable measure to Parmentier in his capacity of Chief of Operations. After the maiden flight on July 26, 1940, 1.600 flights have been made against the loss of only one aircraft in June 1943. Towards the end of the war, Parmentier transferred authority over the Lisbon line to A. Viruly, as he, in the rank of reserve-Captain pilot, was named commander of the Dutch Dakota Flight which maintained communication with the liberated Netherlands.
He left military service in the rank of reserve-Major pilot.
Parmentier’s career was brusquely cut off in the night of October 20 to 21, 1948, flying Lockheed L-749 Constellation PH-TER Nijmegen when he crashed near the air field of Prestwick in Scotland after having hit a high-tension cable in bad weather. Out of the 40 occupants, not only Parmentier but the technical director of K.L.M., Veenendaal and Major-general G.J. Sas, military attaché in Washington as well as others, lost their lives. Parmentier’s death was a grievous loss for Dutch aviation in general and for K.L.M. in particular
Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!